Songs to beat the autumnal blues.

Music, Recommendations, Uncategorized

I always say that autumn is my favorite season, & I really do think that it is. But for the past few years, autumn has held a whole lot of emotional weight to it. It’s been heavy & complicated. It’s been filled with change. It’s been riddled with self-doubt & insecurities. The shorter daylight as we rapidly approach winter isn’t helping anything, either. I find myself craving melancholy, morose tunes that match my inward reality, but those songs don’t help anything. I need to replace my negative headspace with some truth & a whole lot of Scripture.

Here’s a few joyful songs I’ve been listening to on repeat in this season to help combat those autumnal blues:

  • On and On by Housefires (on the album Housefires III, 2016). This song, guys. It’s been sweet solace for my soul when I doubt God’s love & forget His covenant with me. One of the most helpful ways to get out of a funk is to think less about me and more about God, and the song helps me to reflect on His faithfulness.
  • Love Don’t Stop by Eikon (on the album Look Up, 2017). What a reminder we need on the darker days, that God’s love doesn’t stop pursuing us. I love that the song talks about stopping and looking at what Christ accomplished on the cross, declaring that “hope is now alive.”
  • Amazing Grace (I’ve Got a Reason to Sing) by The Sing Team (on the album Sing On!, 2017). This new interpretation of Amazing Grace gives the song fresh life & allows the precious lyrics to sink deeper into my soul. The song turns from a lovely hymn into a lively jam you can’t help but sing along to. Also, any of the songs on this album are a good fix for the blues — truth delivered in a joyful, accessible, beautiful way. I also recommend “All Creatures of Our God and King and “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” They’re delightfully fresh takes on the classic tunes and sure to put some joy in your ears.
  • Nailed to the Cross” by Rend Collective (2017). This song is all about preaching the gospel to yourself, one of the best spiritual weapons we can wield against the enemy & our flesh & and the lies of the world. Praise God for what He’s done as you replace lies with truth through this encouraging song. Nearly any Rend Collective song will bring worship to your soul and happy tapping to your feet.
  • 23” by Red Rocks Worship ( on the album Living Liturgies, 2016). Psalm 23, set to a beautiful melody. Reminding yourself of God’s good Shepherding during even the darkest of seasons is sure to bring a whole lot of comfort. This song reminds me that the joy of the Lord is abundant — “You have made me a place where joy is overflowing.”

I hope these songs will be a blessing to you!

What do you listen to that speaks truth to your soul when it is downcast?

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
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How we justify gossip (and why we shouldn’t).

Discipleship, Gossip, Sanctification, Sin, Words of Life

Can you think of a time that someone’s words had a great impact on you? Our words are weighty, and they truly influence the people around us. I have been convicted recently of how I have been using my tongue. I’ve caught myself indulging in gossip far too frequently. It’s so easy for me to pass along bits of information that are not mine to share in a conversation with a friend. I might not be saying anything negative about the people involved, but I still say things about them that I shouldn’t. It’s so easy for me to rationalize my sinful habit. Here’s a few reasons I found myself trying to justify my gossiping:

  1. I gossip because I “process things better verbally.” Sitting down with a friend over coffee seems like the perfect place to figure out that conflict happening at home or work, right? I want my friend’s wisdom in the situation, so of course I need to share every detail with her. But is verbally processing our relational drama with a friend the most biblical way to handle the situation? We see in Scripture that God is our ultimate Counselor — we need to start addressing and processing our issues with truth by first going to our Lord in prayer.

 

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”

— Psalm 32:8, ESV

With God’s eye upon us and His counsel with us, we can walk fearlessly into relationships, not matter how messy they might seem, without the cheerleading and moral support of a gossip-filled conversation with a friend. You don’t need to debrief your demanding boss, annoying roommate, or stubborn friend over that iced latte on your next coffee date. Instead, you can meditate on what the Lord is teaching you through these circumstances, keeping the focus on Christ and His work in you instead of on the person frustrating you.

2. I also find myself gossiping when I don’t have much to talk about in my own life. When I’m feeling emotionally or spiritually stuck and don’t have anything to share with a friend, I’m prone to start talking about our mutual pals. Focusing on someone else’s problems seems so much easier than facing your own, but it is actually just using others. What we speak about in conversation with others is reflective of the state of our hearts.

“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

— Luke 6:43-45, ESV

The truth is that a heart that is not fully satisfied in Christ bears bad fruit. If there are issues in your walk with the Lord, ask your friend for prayer and advice about how to strengthen that relationship, instead of focusing on the faults or shortcomings of others. If your heart is treasuring up Christ and loving others, love and words of life will flow out of you. If this isn’t a reality for you right now, confess your sin to God and ask for His Spirit to fill you with His fruit.

3. Another way that I find myself turning to gossip in conversations is when I disguise it with an air of holiness. This often looks like turning someone I know into a “prayer request”, which truly is just a dishonoring and unloving practice. If you sincerely want prayer for this person, start in your own prayer closet, then graciously ask for it with decorum, honoring the individual by sparing unnecessary details and guarding their reputation in their conversation. If you would feel uncomfortable saying what you’re saying about them to their face, don’t say it. I also tend to default back to gossip-infused conversations when attempting to walk through messy situations as a small group. If a couple in your church broke up, or a major conflict occurred between friends, it’s natural to feel that you have to take sides. Processing through with others this might seem helpful, but please be guarded. I would again suggest starting with times of individual prayer, as God will do more through your prayers than you could ever accomplish through a conversation with a friend. He will direct you in how to unite and fortify the friend groups in your life, without dishonoring anyone or damaging their reputation.

Instead of turning to gossip to fill the gaps in our conversations or to process through the harder parts of life, followers of Christ are to first turn to the Lord in prayer. As we spend more time in prayer and in the Word, we will grow to hear His voice louder than all the gossip out there, and we will find that the Spirit enables us to bear good fruit in our conversations.

Check back tomorrow for part 2 on combatting gossip and speaking words of life!

  • What is God teaching you about how you converse with others?
  • Do you have any other tips for combatting gossip?
Photo by Joshua Ness on Unsplash

 

On Affliction.

Uncategorized

David’s pen never wrote more sweetly than when dipped in the ink of affliction.

–Octavius Winslow

This quote is a balm to my soul. It’s so good to meditate upon the nature of God in the midst of suffering. My natural response to affliction is not to praise God. It’s usually to retreat from my life, to avoid the reality of what’s going on. But what if our suffering pushed us to worship? What if affliction became the kindling of our worship?

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Spurgeon: The Immutability of God

Uncategorized

With God “is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” Whatever his attributes were of old, they are now; his power, his wisdom, his justice, his truth, are alike unchanged. He has ever been the refuge of his people, their stronghold in the day of trouble, and he is their sure Helper still. He is unchanged in his love. He has loved his people with “an everlasting love”; he loves them now as much as ever he did, and when all earthly things shall have melted in the last conflagration, his love will still wear the dew of its youth. Precious is the assurance that he changes not! The wheel of providence revolves, but its axle is eternal love.

— Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, November 2 Morning

Photo by SnapbyThree MY on Unsplash

Welcome.

Miscellaneous

Welcome to With Inexpressible Joy. I’m Danielle, & it’s a pleasure to have you here. This space will be a curation of a few of my favorite things: studying the Word, collecting quotes, embarking on creative endeavors, highlighting the excellent bits of music I’ve discovered, sharing things I’ve learned, & much more. I pray that this space will be a blessing to you.

In the words of the author of Hebrews, may this be a place in which we “consider how to stir up one another to love & good works” (Heb 10:24, ESV). I’m so thankful for you, friends. Also, please let me know what you would like me to write about in future posts!

Photo by Sarah Dorweiler on Unsplash